Make Sure Your Child Will Eat Healthy Away From Home
Many parents have the same complaints about the food at their child’s friends’ and relatives’ homes as they do about the food at school. Try these tips to help your child eat healthy away from home:
“Our Doctor Says He’s Allergic To… “
I use this trick in my pediatric practice. If your child is going to have a prolonged visit at a friend’s or relative’s home where the nutrition is suspect, tell the food-making parents ahead of time: “Dr. Bill says that Amy is allergic to artificial food colorings and sweeteners, hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup, and chemical flavor-enhancers, like MSG.” Write these down and leave a list to ensure your child will eat healthy away from home. You are not lying to them. I believe all children are allergic to these chemical additives – some show it now, while others will show it later. The word allergies gets people’s attention, as they visualize a child having a wheezing fit after eating peanuts.
Tell the Truth
If you are going through a family makeover to change your home into a pure one, tell the other people to enlist their help in getting your child to eat healthy away from home. Share with them that you are trying to wean your child off junk food and reshape her tastes toward healthy food. You might even dangle a motivating, “because they seem to bother her behavior so much.” (The friend or grandparent doesn’t want a misbehaving child in the home.) Elicit their help by offering, “Perhaps if Suzy sees that your family eats a lot of vegetables, she won’t think I’m such a weird cook after all.” A little peer pressure goes a long way. You may find that the other people like this idea as a way to get their own children to eat healthy foods: “Suzy is coming for dinner tonight, and I hear she loves vegetables, so we’re going to make some special vegetables for her tonight.”